Sunday, October 30, 2011

Small Update

I have added a few more links to miniature manufacturers in the Hobby Links section. There is some amazing stuff going on right now in the world of gaming. It is a great time to be a gamer!

Not much work done this weekend. I drove out to a few stores looking to pick up some Halloween Town type terrain, but nowhere I went had any. It was a wasted weekend for terrain. I did paint a little bit, but only base colors for the Satyxis witches. Not very exciting.

On the plus side, I found a gun store nearby that is in the same building as a model railroad shop. I have honestly never been in such a cool place. It was the convergence of two of the most formative elements of my childhood. Frankly, I am still reeling.

I also made it to the gym pretty regularly this week. I have been on a diet and exercise routine for the last month and a half and have so far lost about 15 pounds. It seems pretty good until I realize that I have about 50 to go and will have to spend a fortune on new clothes if I am successful. Oh well, sure beats heart disease and diabetes.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

300 Challenge: Cryx Chicks Part 1

My next step in the 300 Challenge is into Warmachine. I already have a bunch of models painted up, but these Satyxis models have been sitting around for over a year. I did manage at some point to get them on some nice Back2Base-ix resin bases, but after priming them I got sidetracked. As you can see, they are highly detailed and come in a variety of poses. My first step was to paint the skin with a blend of Elf Flesh and Rotting Flesh. I then hit the wooden bases with some Scorched Brown.
 As you can see, I have a ways to go. My plan is to try and do two colors every day this week and get them done in four days. I should be fine. Today was flesh and wood, tomorrow will be cloth and leather.
 This group comes to the table half done. The models still need a lot of work, however. There are a lot of buckles and straps to pick out as well as mistakes to clean up from my previous attempt to get them on the table quickly.
 Here is the new sculpt of Pirate Queen Skarre. I really like her pose, but she needs a new base. I think I can find something that will work.
This is the old version. still pretty cool, but she is chiefly being used as a test piece for the other one so I can get my colors right.

So far so good, more updates soon!


40K Battle Report: Imperial Guard vs. Marines

Battle Report!

I successfully recruited one of my buddies to come over to the house and try a game of 40K. I put together a small force of marines for him and a guard army for me. The battle would be seize ground, with the variation that any infantry unit could hold an objective. Here is the breakdown:

  • Space Marine Captain with Power Sword and Artificer Armor
  • Command Squad with the following equipment: 1 Plasma Pistol, 1 Pair of Lightning Claws, 1 Power Sword,Company Champion, and Apothecary
  • 10 Man Tactical Squad with Plasma Gun and Heavy Bolter
  • 3 Space Marine Bikers with a Melta Gun
I was a little worried about this army since I only have a few models at hand (hence all the extra equipment). Turns out they were fine!

  • Company Command Squad with Autocannon
  • Platoon Command Squad with Missile Launcher and 2 Plasma Guns
  • 2 Squads with Heavy Bolter and a Power Sword on the Sergeants
  • Veteran Squad with 3 Plasma Guns in a Chimera
  • 2 Armored Sentinels with Autocannon and Plasma Cannon
I honestly thought this would be enough plasma. I really did.

 Aaron split the tactical squad into combat squads and moved the heavy bolter to the top of a building in the first round. He had a good field of fire and began putting the hurt down early on. They also controlled an objective. There was one near his deployment zone and two near the center. The rest of his force began running down the table to pounce on the center objectives right away. He left his bikes in reserve.
 This unit would prove the toughest to dislodge. After this command squad got in the ruins, it proved very difficult to put any wounds on them. Their Apothecary kept them going despite Lasguns, Heavy Bolters, and Autocannons causing tons of wounds. I had intended to wipe them out with the Veterans, but they were delayed in getting there.
 Here is a birds-eye view. I spent three turns leap frogging my infantry units near them, but was unable to cause any casualties. I refrained from getting too close to their potential assault.
 The Captain went off on his own, trusting to his armor to see him safe. The bikes racing up behind got a bead on the Sentinels, who themselves were targeting the combat squad on the other objective. You can't see it here, but the Captain is getting ready to assault a squad between the buildings.

 In a later turn, he managed to wipe the squad out, but then my Chimera finally showed up and three veterans with Plasma Guns popped out the top hatch and hosed him with six shots! Despite some fevered dice rolling, the Space Marine Captain was wiped out. He performed well, however, destroying the squad I was trying to use to seize an objective with.
The chimera, platoon command squad, and sentinels wiped out the bikers and the combat squad on objective number two. We rolled to see if round six would begin and it was a "2." Game Over! With another round I could have used my vehicles to contest the other objectives and the veterans to hold one. Close to a victory, but not close enough. Congratulations to the Noob!

I made two big mistakes. For some reason I put the Missile Launcher and Plasma Guns in a standard platoon command squad. They should have been my Company Command Squad where these weapons would have benefited from the improved BS. As it was, the Company Command Squad was pretty useless as the marines got their normal save from the autocannon hits and the junior officer could not force the marines to reroll cover saves from the plasma.

Mistake number two was keeping the chimera in reserve. He would have been better off shooting all weapons from round one and pushing into enemy territory to try and contest that objective. The delay to round four because of lousy reserve rolls was punishing.

A good fun game. 600 points is all right by me.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Malifaux Terrain: The Mansion Part 5

I spent a few day doing some detail work on the mansion. One of my goals when starting this project was to add as much detail as I could without resorting to lots of pre-made bits. I could easily by some plastic window kits, but on a project of this size, the price would mount pretty quickly. Instead, I went out to the local craft store and picked up a few basic supplies to start working on the windows. So far I am pretty happy with how they are working out.
 I started with painting them brown. If you leave the paint fairly thin, the wood grain shows through nicely. Along with the popsicle sticks, I had a bag of long thin bass wood strips that would work for trim and the window cross bars. I used a pair of clippers to snip the popsicle sticks to the right length for each window frame and then beveled the edges so they would fit together at a nice 45 degree angle. each window is slightly different, so each piece was trimmed individually.
 From an old miniatures package I cut out some rectangles of clear plastic for the windows. On some of them I cut lines to simulate cracks and other had a corner cut off to simulate breakage.
 Here are some of the finished interior doorways. I glued the top piece in first then slid the side pieces in underneath so they fit snugly. Using the thin bass wood strips, I created a simple frame around them. This adds a further level of detail and also hides the places where the wallpaper was cut out from the doorway. A little white glue holds the whole thing together.
 The windows took a little more work, since I had to fit four pieces together plus two more for the cross pieces. A few of the window frames are a bit wonky, but I did not correct them. I want the building to look dilapidated and uneven so it fits with the ethos of the place. I used a drop of superglue to hold the plastic window pieces in.
 The interiors are finished in a similar fashion as the doors, with a frame that goes all the way around. This level is just about complete. I will order some furniture soon and put a few pictures on the wall.
Here are the first two levels finished!

Well, mostly finished. I have decided that the roof line is just not working for me. I may cut the peaks of the roofs of and rework them to be flat topped. But that is a project for another day...


Sunday, October 16, 2011

GW Fanboy Rant

Apparently new Necron pics have finally been leaked. They can be seen at They look pretty cool.

This might be a good time to play my GW fanboy card for a moment. If you spend any time on gamer forums on the web you will find a shocking amount of vitriol against Games Workshop. Criticisms range from anger over the release schedule to disappointment over a new codex. Price always seems to be an issue and veteran gamers always get wistful for the "good old days." While I can appreciate the criticisms and well understand where they come from, I don't think any of them really cancel out the good that GW does for gamers in general. Here is how my argument for GW goes, point by point.

Point 1: "GW products are too expensive."
I disagree. The hobby has always been expensive. Most hobbies are. Take a minute and look at what it would take to get into car racing, scuba diving, or hang gliding. Thousands will be spent on equipment, travel and training. To top it off, you could die! Even people who merely go to the gym or start running will eventually pay a good deal on new shoes, spandex, and membership dues. In short, people will generally pay what they can afford as long as they think it is worth it. Some will say that GW is uniquely expensive because of the number of models you need to play with. The argument goes that Malifaux or Warmachine is a better option since you can play full games with fewer pieces. While this is true, it hasn't ever stopped me from spending my full hobby allowance even after purchasing my one starter box. There will always be another model I want or a new crew to start. The problem with these kinds of skirmish games is that in order to have such a small buy-in, they are limited when it comes to playing with a larger force. I will never really be able to field all my Resurrectionists together, even though I only own about a $150 dollars worth. Such a game would be neither fun nor realistic. However, I can easily field every Space Marine I ever bought, along with Every Imperial Guard and Sister of Battle model, at the same time!. By now the number is something like 400+ individual models. The game scales well with the right rule set (Apocalypse). Further, I can field just five Space Marines and the same basic rules work for that size game as well (Kill Team). I know that Warmachine is trying to address the scaling issue, but they are a long way from the flexibility that GW offers. While some of the new game systems do make it financially easy to start, they pretty severely limit what you can do on the table once you have been collecting for a while.

For me, it all comes down to budgeting. I will soon be starting a new GW army and I will plan to budget just $30 a month over the course of a year to see what I can come up with. This will be $360, a pretty significant investment for any game. However, when I am done, I hope to have an army that can be fielded at any points level. The same investment in Malifaux, for instance, would yield me 10-12 crews, but they could only be fielded in one kind of battle while all the rest sat on the shelf.

I recently did some research into all the starting boxes offered by the mainline gaming companies. Warmachine offers 8 basic starter boxes (around $50) with a model count of anywhere from 3 to 6 models. Malifaux offers 24 starter boxes (around $30) with an average of 5 models per box. Games Workshop offers 26 starter boxes (around $100) with a model count from 16 (Ogre Kingdoms) to 51 (Tomb Kings), with most armies falling in the 30 model range. Many 40K armies even come with a tank or other large size model. Further, all the GW box sets are fully customizeable, poseable, and upgradeable. Chances are that you will also be left with a pile of bits for further conversion work. Here is the average cost per model, assuming you buy one of the smaller kits with 5 models and one of the GW kits with 30 models. Privateer: $10 per model. Malifaux: $6 per model. GW: $3.33 per model. Despite the larger initial cost, the value is worth it.

Point 2: GW doesn't release new stuff fast enough.
This is a complex issue and I admit that I do not have any insider knowledge on the process. However, a company like Privateer obviously has a different workload than GW. If Privateer decides to rework the entire line of one army, we are talking about resculpting around 100+ models. For GW to do the same thing, we are talking more like a few thousand individual pieces spread out over a number of individual sprues and finecast sculpts. For instance, the basic Space Wolf Pack sprue has 218 individual pieces. Most of them must be designed to be interchangeable with every other kit as well. This is a massive undertaking that simply takes a long time to get right.

I am a Sisters of Battle player, so I know what it means to wait for a new codex (8 years). This never really bothered me all that much. As long as I had the old codex, I could play with the models I already had without needing to worry about changing the army too much. The stability of that was actually pretty nice, because it gave me time to hone my skills and gradually build up my force over a decade. If I wanted to play the army in a new way, all I had to do was change up a few units here and there and it was different! I didn't need to wait for a new special character or special unit to come out for that, like in Warmachine. The flexibility to change the army was already in the list itself.

If the new stuff comes out too quickly, gamers complain about the old stuff being made obsolete. If they don't come out fast enough, gamers complain about the old stuff becoming obsolete. Frankly, I think 5-7 years between codices is fine, with a simple FAQ to update them if a new rulebook comes out, which GW has done.

Point 3: "The scale of Warhammer is just too big for me nowadays."
This is something I have heard from several friends and podcasters who have made the jump from GW to Privateer and Wyrd. This is one that I can't really argue with, since it is a matter of personal taste. Further, I know that it can be a challenge to get all those GW models painted up. Here then, is my own take on this particular issue.
  • Skirmish games limit my tactical options. In a skirmish game, there is a very limited number of troops on the board. It will be hard to factor in a lot of redundancies. Each unit therefore bears a greater burden than in a larger game, where more units can support one another.
  • Some units become indispensable in Skirmish game. Because of the lack of redundancy in a skirmish force, the general will usually have to rely on one uber-powerful unit to win the game, such as a caster,  master, or big nasty. This is not necessarily true in Warhammer. Generally, a force will be able to survive the unanswered death of one or two units and even win. The exceptions would be armies like the Vampire Counts (melting units with loss of HQ) and Necrons (phase out with death of troops). Some reckon that this attribute makes these armies particularly vulnerable, if not weak.
  • For me, wargames should have an epic feel. It may be nice to be able to set up a skirmish game in under ten minutes, but there is something special about a large table full of ranks and ranks of soldiery, or a half-dozen rumbling tanks. While skirmish games are great, I always get the feeling that they are leaving the best story untold- the big battle that is happening just over the next hill.
Finally, a note on the matter of customization. This is probably what keeps me coming back to GW time and again. I love putting my own army together with its own story and background, even paint scheme. The problem with the mainline skirmish games is that the background has already been written for you, the story already told. In a way, it doesn't matter if you killed Seamus in the streets of Malifaux, because in the fluff in the book, he killed you! Not so with my Imperial Guard. Their story grows and develops with every game I play. Further, my 40K army will always be different from the one across the table. It is my creation, not someone else's.

Whatever GW's faults may be, I think they make the best models and have the coolest background. I love playing Warhammer and plan to do so for years to come.

Malifaux Terrain: Creepy Structure Part 2

I painted up the little house as a test piece for the Malifaux mansion project. I wanted to see what the best way might be to paint the siding, in particular. I want this house to be "Malifaux" in that it looks innocent at first glance, but then becomes horrible on closer examination. 
 I did something new with the windows this time by painting in some curtains. i will admit that they look pretty crude up close, but from a distance actually look very nice. I don't want a really polished look on my stuff anyway. Malifaux has kind of a storybook feel to it, so more abstract terrain seems to fit better along with the models.
 I also deliberately skewed some of the angels, particularly on the window frames. This contributes to the overall look rather subtly, just like the mismatched shingles. I could have bought all my siding and windows online from a plastic kit manufacturer, but that just doesn't interest me as much. The bricks were painted in various shades of brown and red but I think they still need a highlight so it stands out more. I need to get a hold of some cotton balls to make some smoke for the chimney. I think that will go a long way to show that something horrible is happening inside.
Here is a close up of the front windows. What is happening in there? Well, bad things happen...


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Malifaux Terrain: Creepy Structure Part 1

This is a little house I started last year. I want something to represent a creepy structure in Malifaux. So far it looks pretty innocent, but my plan will be to situate it in a piece of creepy terrain. The chimney will have a large plume of smoke and the windows will reflect some creepy firelight from inside.
 The house is simple foamcore sheathed in card strips. I will next fashion a decent sized base with a few creepy trees, a fence, and a walkway. Maybe some gravestones out back?
I would also like the building to be removable from the base. I plan on creating a little diorama with stuff going on inside, like a fireplace, a dining room table, and maybe a rocking chair in the corner. We'll just have to see.


Malifaux Terrain: The Mansion Part 4

This doesn't look like much, but I was having a problem joining the round roof to this tower. The tower itself is round at the front and square at the back. In order to join it up I layered several pieces of cardboard and carved it to blend the two shapes together. Once done, I shingled it and attached to old roof. It now has a much better fit and looks quite a bit better from all angles. next step will be to frame out the big window.

This is a project I was not looking forward to. I have done thousands and thousands of shingles and I find the work very tedious, especially on long ranks like these. So, I plugged into a new podcast and took an afternoon to finish it up. Now I need some paint to try and bring it in line with the rest of my Malifaux buildings.

The biggest job, of course, is finishing the siding. Like the shingles, this just took lots of time. Once I had all of the card cut out, it didn't really take me all that long. The corners and windows of course take a little care. Next step will be window and door frames. I need to see if I can get my hands on some balsa wood for this job. It will be a little more sturdy than card and look better when painted. Speaking of paint, once I finish a few other projects I will get some color on this.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Malifaux Terrain: The Mansion Part 3

 It has been quite a while since I did any work on the mansion. It was looking fairly good, but the exterior design really bothered me. The "columned" look I was going for did not look right at all. I couldn't decide how to paint it and the various gaps and uneven corners were driving me nuts.

I always go to my standard solution when things are looking bad- the humble card strip. I took a sheet of paperboard and marked it off in 3/8" lines.
 With my handy razor blade I carefully cut them out and then made about 50 more.

If you are attempting a project like this, take necessary precautions, namely: use a sharp knife, lay out sheets of cardboard to protect your desk, and keep all your cereal boxes so the evil recycling fairy doesn't take them away.

Also measure and cut carefully. That is important.
 I started on the back of the house at the top. I reasoned that if I didn't like how it was turning out, this would be any easy tear-down and replace. I started at the bottom and carefully layered each strip over the top of the one below. I used a little white glue to stick them down and my old sprue cutters to nip off the edges.
 I determined that it was looking good, so I went after the tower next. In order to get the pieces to lay flat, I had to slice off all my old trim pieces. This was a little tricky, but a very sharp knife helped out.

This tower took me quite a while to finish since there were a lot of small pieces to cut out around the windows.
 As you can see, it is coming right along. I am not too worried about getting the corners super neat. I want it to look run-down and neglected. The rough corners give it a nice look. I also trimmed off the balcony-things that ringed the tower. What were those for?

I briefly considered using balsa wood for this project, but there are a lot of places where the siding needs to bend. Also, it would have likely been too thick. I am going to paint the thing anyway, so card was my best option.
The siding will be painted to match the shingles, but in a darker shade. The siding will be black, with just a hint of blue-gray on the highlight.

The round tower will get some kind of stone treatment. Not quite sure what it will look like, but perhaps I think of something later.

Here is a close up of the work. The boards are uneven and ill-fitting. Perfect. It finally looks like a haunted house!

Now I only have the two main floors to go. Wish me luck!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Hobby Starters: The Opening Salvo

In an effort to introduce more people to the hobbies that I enjoy, particularly wargames, I will be offering a series of articles on how to start. I have wasted an awful lot of time and energy over the years collecting things I didn't need or were of no particular use. Hopefully these articles will help the budding hobbyist in avoiding some of the pitfalls I encountered lo those many moons ago. Go to my other blog to see the articles themselves at . This space will be reserved for my own ongoing projects.

Purchasing Your Supplies
The first hurdle to cross in starting any new hobby are your start-up costs. There will likely be initial expenditures that cause the hobby to appear more pricey than it really is. However, most of your initial supplies will last a long time and provide you with a constant source of enjoyment. Here are the starters:
  • The rulebook for the game and the army book for your faction. Most game systems have a core rulebook that explains how the game itself is played. It will likely include "fluff" or background to the setting, lots of pictures of the models, and guides to getting started. Beyond this, there will likely be an army book that details your individual force with in-depth rules and tactica for playing them. Some companies, like Privateer Press, include basic army rules in the core book. I love collecting army books and rulebooks since they look great on my shelf and provide many hours of reading enjoyment. 

  • The paints come next. I recommend buying high guality paints and brushes. You don't want to spend a lot of money on your models only to ruin them with a bottle of nasty, grainy paint. Spend a few extra bucks and buy Games Workshop, Privateer Press Paint, Vallejo, or Reaper. They are worth it. Also invest in a good quality can of spray primer. Make sure it is formulated for miniatures and use it properly. Again, undercoating your models on a windy, rainy day will ruin the work you put into assembling them. For brushes, buy them long and pointy.
  •  Hobby tools are also important. For working with plastic models you will need to purchase what are called "sprue cutters." They are metal clippers that help you remove the models from their frame in order to put them together. I also use a razor blade to remove any molding lines. The one I prefer is a simple box cutter with snap-off blades. An Exacto knife is useful for getting into hard to reach places. A set of small files is also handy, particularly for metal models. You will also need a nice halogen desk lamp to illuminate your painting area. I like the goose neck variety.
  • Finally, you are ready for the models themselves. This is where most people take a step back and go no further. The price tag can seem a bit daunting as these will be a lot more expensive than the toys you remember as a kid. The problem is that wargames miniatures are made of two of the most expensive and volatile commodities in the world: oil and metal. Further, each model was designed and sculpted by hand or over a three year process on a computer. These are not easy products to fashion. However, once you have them, they are yours forever. I keep my models in a display case in my living room and they give me great joy whenever I walk past them. The difference between these models and a movie ticket or other transitory entertainment experience is that you are left with something substantial- something real that you can hold on to or even sell for more than what you initially paid for. Go on ebay sometime and see what a pro-painted army can bring in.
How to Purchase
You have several options for purchasing your supplies:
  • The Friendly Local Game Store: This should be your first stop. A local store provides a place to play and meet other hobbyists. The owner can suggest which products you might need, and it is the best place to browse for that model you didn't know you wanted. You will likely pay full price here, but supporting the FLGS is worth it.  

  • The Company Web Store: I only use this option when no other supplier has what I am looking for. Some websites  have exclusives that can't be found anywhere else. The problem with this is that you are paying a premium and do little to support your local community

  • The Independent web store: There are many great companies that provide discounts on a wide variety of products. If you are on a tight budget, this is the place to go. You can usually find a 20% discount pretty easily in order to maximise your savings. Some websites also provide a "bits" service which means that they will sell you only the parts you need from a bigger kit. For instance, the $20 Commander kit from GW has a ton of options you don't really need. You can get a stripped down version without the options for a good deal less.
  • Ebay: For some super deals, this is the place to go. Buyer beware, however. I have purchased some items here that were not quite as advertised. For hard to find items or out of print stuff, this may be your only option.
Final Thoughts
Watch your budget! Chances are that you won't be able to paint more than about one unit a month anyway, so don't go crazy buying tons of models you don't need right away. I am currently working through my backlog and it will likely take me three months to do so. In the meantime I am on a purchasing embargo. Paint what you have first! Once you have your initial purchases out of the way you can budget about $50 a month for new stuff and still have plenty to work on.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Dread Fleet: Unboxing

Dreadfleet arrived today! I came back from a rotten day at class, trudging through boring textbooks and dusty papers to find this glowing, warpstone-infused gem sitting in front of my door. By Sigmar, it smelled of skaven hide and salt spray, as if it had been delivered by a bilge rat soaked in rot-gut. The box weighed at least a hunno pounds, but I threw it over my shoulder like a dead cabin boy and hauled it inside. I knocked on the wooden doorpost three times, spit on the floor, and turned around twice before reaching for my scimitar.
 With a few deft strokes I sliced into the iron-hard packaging and looked at what lay inside. It was a vision of indescribable beauty- a unique blend of art, skill, and madness. It was indeed the fabled copy of Dreadfleet from Games Workshop along with exclusive novellette by Phil Kellly! My heart skipped a beat and I could scarcely stifle a primal roar of excitement and wonder!
 Yeeeeeessssss! This kicks ass!
 Here is the box in all its glory. Bigger than an FFG standard game, smaller than a coffin box. The artwork is gorgeous and I have been informed that Battlefoam is selling custom inserts for the ships and cards. Which I will buy.
 Inside are some shockingly good plastics. Hopefully you have seen the painted ships already, but even those do not do them justice. The level of detail is in-freaking-credible. For example, the main ship of the dreadfleet is actually a castle surrounded by the broken remains of other ships. Around the doors of the castle are little gallows- with nooses. On the Heldenhammer, the shingles on the roof are super tiny. Even so, some of them are sculpted to appear broken. keep in mind that these ships are only about 2-3 inches long but represent vessels capable of holding over a thousand crew. They even put the super-detailed Dystopian Wars figures to shame. Hands down. No contest. Amazing.

The rulebook is a real beaut, too. Full color, lots of artwork (mostly John Blanche- sorry Ben!) that is very nice as well. I particularly like the naval combat scenes. I would like to get some prints, I think. The rules are all together in the first part, there is a fluff section on what the ships are fighting about, there is a breakdown of the ships themselves, and then a scenario section with 12 scenarios and campaign rules to boot. Ship's stats are very straightforward so it would likely be no trouble at all to fit in some Man-o-War ships as well with some homebrew captains.
Here is a picture along with one of my cadians (28mm) so you can get an idea of the size. I can already tell they are going to be a breeze to paint. The sprues come with all sorts of goodies. I am particularly pleased with the small stuff, like dragons, monsters, and especially the sails. there is not a single "throw-away" piece in there. The ships even come with their own fully sculpted water base. There are also several game markers, like a ruler and wind counter that will also need to be painted up. Since everything is snap fit, you could be playing in the time it takes to cut them out and put them together. I will be giving them the full treatment, however, with glue, files, and green stuff.
The terrain is great. The volcano, for instance, is not just a bubbling pit. It has a temple built on the side with a place to throw sacrifices over the lip. The floating village is not just an island with a palm tree. it is a spooky tower built on the back of a giant skeletal sea turtle. The game also comes with a couple card decks and ship reference cards. Did I mention the map? You get a cloth map to play on that is big enough to be a bedspread. The cloth is high-quality, too. I mean, Billy could sew a dress out of this stuff and go out on the town!

Final Thoughts:
Ok, so you have heard me wax eloquent about the new game. I am a GW fanboy, that is true. When they are on top of their game they do it better than anyone else in the industry. This is clearly a product being used to show their skills off, just as Space Hulk did a few years ago. But in that is the problem- it is only a museum piece. They are not going to market this to a generation of gamers as they did with Mordheim, Necromunda, Warhammer Quest, or Battlefleet Gothic. This is a one time release that only a few hobbyists are going to buy, shucking out over a hundred dollars for the privelege. It is not compatible with any of their other games and does not get them started on a new army. I hope that the opposite is true and lots of 13 year old kids pick it up and learn the hobby. However, since they are likely already sold out, that seems unlikely.

That being said I am still looking forward to painting it up and throwing some dice around. This will have a place of honor in my collection. Now heave ho!


Sunday, October 2, 2011

I Guard vs Orks 2000 points

On Friday I went out to JW's place and threw down with him and his buddy Chris. I brought my 2000 point Imperial Guard List and they each brought 1000 points of orks. There were a few things missing that I had hoped to see. There was no heavy armor for my Vanquisher to take apart, so it quickly became obvious that this was going to be a waste of points. I would have been much better off with a standard Leman Russ. They did bring a lot of what I did not want to see, however. The first thing was boyz. It looked like there were three mobs of thirty boys each with three rokkits and a power klaw on the nob. At ninety models I was going to struggle to kill them fast enough. Then there was a trukk with about ten nobs inside that weighed in at over 300 points. Running interference for that flank was a big mob of Gretchin. There was also a mob of Lootas ready to take position in a nice bunker on a hill.

On the other flank there was more nastiness. Along with one of the big mobs, there were six killa kans followed by a Big Mek with Force field, a Deff Dread, a mob of shootas to support the Big Mek, and a trukk with a mob of burna boyz. This was a nasty list.

I set up first down the middle of the board. This was a challenge since I would be presenting the rear armor of my tanks to whichever side of the board I was not shooting at. The orks were allowed to set up 12 inches from my deployment zone, so that meant I needed to stay well back from my edges to give me the most time to shoot. I opted to not put anything in reserve since I needed to start shooting everything in round one.

1. In round one I shot a lot. My best shooting was with the autocannon on the sentinel. It targeted the trukk full of Nobz and scored a penetrating hit. The resulting "careen" result sent the trukk back into his own lines where it promptly blew up. The Nobz inside were unscathed, but now they had to foot slog it with everyone else. I pulled my tanks up elsewhere to try and get some hits on the killa kans. They had wisely deployed where they had maximum protection from my big guns. The chimera with flamer-armed veterans rushed up to the ork lines in order to flame them, but were still a little short. My shooting began to tell a little bit by putting some initial hits on his walkers, but I knew that only one needed to make it through to ruin my day.

In his turn, he fired off a bunch of rokkits and blew up my chimera, killing most of the veterans inside. They were now sitting ducks that would also give him a free charge move if I didn't do something quick. The killa kans shot some grotzookas and my lines started taking casualties.

2. Turn two was much the same as the first. he kept marching and I kept shooting. The kans were getting whittled down, but I was having trouble killing them fast enough. The Lootas immobilized the demolisher by hitting its rear armor. I had turned it around in order to move closer to the advancing killa kans and thought that the woods behind me would offer cover. Unfortunately he rolled for a ton of hits and I failed my cover save. I was left with nothing to shoot at because of the exceedingly short range of the cannon. I did get lucky when he failed a bunch of cover saves of his own and more kans went to the discard pile.

3. Turn three was pretty good for me. Sly Marbo showed up and tossed a demo charge on top of the Nobz a bunch of them died and then failed a leadership roll to stick around. I don't think the orks made a single leadership roll the whole game, even with bosspoles! I had hoped to use Marbo the next turn to assault the Lootas in the bunker, but in retrospect, he would have been better off on the other side throwing his demo charge on the kans. Elsewhere I began to pull back from his advance and try to delay his inevitable Waaagh. The veterans in the Valkyrie dropped out and melta gunned the killa kans. Unfortunately, only one was able to hit, which resulted in one dead kan rather than the two or three I had hoped for. The resulting flamer response killed the whole squad. The Valkyrie also got assaulted and would not be able to shoot in the next round. Sly Marbo went down under a hail of pistol fire.

4. The Leman Russ took a shot at the Big Mek and his unit. A bunch of boyz died, he failed his leadership, and began falling back. This was good for me since the unit would not be able to rally and his kans would no longer get the 4+ save. This helped the rest of my shooting, but unfortunately it looked like two kans were still going to get in. I had opted to stay put and fire rather than pull back. This would turn out badly for me, since my shooting was ineffective. The vanquisher's one job was to kill the Deff Dread, but the one time I got a shot, I missed. As a result, my tank was now vulnerable to an assault in later tunrs.One rule I did check later was that on squadrons- if a member of a squadron is immobilized, it is wrecked immediately. One of the kans remained on the table after this result since we thought that it remained until the unit next moved. As a result, I got one immobilized result with my Leman Russ and a destroyed result from a Lascannon unit. Both hits were applied to the same model. What should have happened was that the immobilized unit should have been removed and the remaining kan destroyed. This left the last kan charging towards my lines unscathed. Bad News.

5. My shooting was growing worse and worse. My plasma toting command squad killed one enemy and one of their own. A far cry from the three or four I had hoped for. The grots had been soaking up a ton of fire the whole game but finally broke and fled this round. He got really close on the left flank and started to assault my middle. A Nob was able to assault and wreck the Vanquisher with his power klaw. The same unit also charged two of my command squads. I thought that one of them was safe, but the charge move was just enough to get his boyz in. This was just about my single biggest mistake in the game. I did not keep my own units far enough apart in order to prevent multiple charges. However, being stuck in the middle, there wasn't really any place to hide anyway. This was typical of the decisions I had to make all game: do I remain forward in rapid fire range, or do I retreat and stay out of assault range? The Sentinel AC killed another Kan this round. He was quickly becoming my MVP. The Deff Dread got blown up by a lucky Lascannon shot and saved the Leman Russ. We rolled for another round and...

6. This was my last chance to pull out a victory. His assault from last round had folded up my lines like a piece of wet toilet paper. The shooting I had left was not nearly enough to make him flee. Most of my tanks were either wrecked or missing guns, so there was no help there. The Kan that had survived from the end turned away from my lines and assaulted the Leman Russ. The big tank finally went down. The boyz in the middle were able to make multiple assaults and completely wiped out most of my remaining troopers. All I had left was one limping tank, the Sentinel, A command squad, and a couple squads from the same platoon. I had dished out a fair amount of damage, but he held the middle.

Result: Each side scored one point for each unit they killed, plus one point for each unit they had remaining. I scored 18 points, the orks scored 19. Boo Hoo. Although, if I had caught that bit about the immobilized result in the Kan squadron, who knows?

Game ended. orks win by one. Much fun was had by all.

  • My bubble wrap tactic did not work since I was not careful to prevent multiple charges. I needed to spread out more and offer more cover. If I had done this more effectively, I would have been given several more opportunities to shoot at his mobs.
  • Leave the Vanquisher at home unless I know I will be seeing AV 14 tanks
  • Put Veteran units in reserve. By leaving them out, they were vulnerable to shooting right away and once their transports went down, they gave a free assault move to the units I was trying to slow down.
  • Reduce the amount of equipment on my sergeants. I had a few power fists out there, but everyone who had one was shot before he got to use it. A few Melta Bombs or set of Krak Grenades would have been useful for taking down those killa kans that got in, however.
  • Switch out at least one Lascannon for a Rocket Launcher or Autocannon in Platoon A. These weapons were consistently more effective.
  • Looking at the pictures, it seems that my units were often technically inside difficult terrain when they were assaulted. this may have given them a chance to survive one turn longer if I had remembered to apply terrain effects properly.
  • Put heavy flamers on the tanks. This gives the tank good anti-infantry firepower when the enemy closes and the main gun has been blown off.
  • Know the rules!


I shouldn't have pressed the button...